Feb 27, 2010

Career exploration

People are always surprised to hear what Tyler wants to be when he grows up: a volcanologist. In other words, he wants to make a career out of studying volcanoes. Right now he reads up on volcanoes at every opportunity. The sentence he wrote on his kindergarten reading log after I took the picture below was: "When Mount St. Helens erupted, the entire north side of the volcano was blown away." I'm impressed.

For his sixth birthday, Garry and I gave Tyler a volcano-making kit. Although it didn't get as much applause as some of the other presents that day, I knew Tyler would really enjoy the kit eventually.

This week, Tyler worked on his volcano in stages. On Sunday afternoon, he mixed the plaster and poured it into the mold. The volcano dried for about an hour, and then Ty removed the forms and let it set up completely overnight.

On Monday it was ready for painting. Tyler was very meticulous as he applied the paint. He ran out of red paint and was thrilled that I had more in the closet. I was surprised to see the final product was mostly black. Apparently he did lots of color mixing!

We waited for a nice day to "explode" the volcano. On Friday, the planets aligned, and Tyler and I set up camp on the driveway during nap time. The four-minute video below shows all of the stages of our activity, but the pictures also sum it up. Basically, Tyler mixed baking soda with vinegar and food coloring to make "lava." I noticed a note in the instructions later that suggested adding dish soap and paint to the vinegar for a more realistic effect. Maybe we'll try that next time!

All in all, Tyler had a great time with his volcano. He experimented a lot with colorful lava, so his volcano had a literal rainbow of eruptions. Best of all, if we buy some more plaster, we can re-use the molds in the kit and make more volcanoes in the future. Our future volcanologist is thrilled!
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